It seems like 2021 is shaping up to be the year tech giants find themselves in the crosshairs.
First, Australia introduces a law to force the likes of Facebook and Google to pay for news content. Then, the UK Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are workers – a baton taken up by SA and UK law firms filing a similar suit on our shores.
Now, India’s government is coming for social media’s leading lights.
Facebook, Twitter and the like may have to reveal “first originators”
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, India’s minister of electronics and information, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has announced sweeping new legislation that will require social media companies to acknowledge takedown requests of unlawful, misinformation and violent content within 24 hours.
Not only that, those social media companies must employ officers and contact people who live locally, to coordinate with law enforcement agencies and address complaints. In some instances, some companies will also have to reveal the identity of the “first originator” of offending posts to authorities.
“We appreciate the proliferation of social media in India,” Prasad said. “We want them to be more responsible and more accountable.”
It’ll be interesting to see the response from the companies the proposed new rules affect, given how India is looked at as a key market for growth for many of them. It’ll also be interesting to see if any local authorities right here in South Africa take note of how this situation plays out – given that the Democratic Alliance recently called on Facebook to explain to parliament how it plans to stop the spread of misinformation.